Alabama Senate Passes State School Board Senate and Districts

The Alabama Senate on Monday approved new district lines for the Alabama Senate and Alabama State School Board districts.

The Senate also unanimously approved on Monday the use of $80 million of America Rescue Act funds for state hospitals and nursing homes.

Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2, to approve new Senate and Alabama school districts, respectfully passed 25-7 and 24-4, after a lengthy floor debate that included several filibusters from the Senate Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Montgomery, discussed what he described as “unnecessary divisions” in Jefferson County and asked if the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim McClendon , R-Springville, had considered all of the county’s forecasts.

“I want to say for the record that the whole county layout – you took that argument away from me. You’ve traveled all over the county. My only argument, I guess, is unnecessary divisions,” Singleton said.

In an interview with APR On Monday, Singleton said Senate Democrats “didn’t have the opportunity to look at these districts as deep as we are” during the district selection process.

On Sept. 27, Singleton and Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging certain congressional districts are “racially gerrymandered.”

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Former Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, said the recent addition of overwhelming numbers of white voters to her Mobile County district is an example of racial gerrymandering.

“I never had to be part of another county. I’ve always been right in Mobile. Numbers said, mentioning that she requested part of Baldwin County in a previous redistricting session. “This year I was placed in Baldwin County. When I found out you sent me to Baldwin County, I said, “I didn’t want to be in Baldwin County.”

The numbers indicate that District 33 — a majority-black district that encompasses much of Mobile, and now part of the area around Blakeley in Baldwin County — could eventually be lost as a Democratic-majority district.

“After it was announced that Senate District 33 had been placed in Baldwin County, there was an outcry from citizens there saying they did not want to be part of Senate District 33. ” Numbers said. “I think most of the citizens there didn’t want their county divided either.”

During his stint on the podium, Figures said the overwhelming number of white voters added to his constituency was “one of the most explicit examples of racial gerrymandering in the history of this state.”

The two Senate bills are now returned to the House for consideration.

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Norman D. Briggs